NEW York The MTA has launched “MTA App Quest,” a competition challenging tech developers to create software applications that increase access to information and improve the travel experience for customers of New York’s subways, buses, railroads and bridges and tunnels. The winning app developer will receive the grand prize of $5,000. Smaller cash prizes will go to the developers of apps that are judged to do the most to help train and bus riders and bridge and tunnel motorists better navigate the MTA’s system and those that are deemed most popular by the public. The MTA is not contributing financially to the prize money pool. Officials said the competition is the latest component of the MTA’s effort to improve the way that customers access information about New York’s transportation network, from activation of countdown clocks in subway stations, to real-time bus tracking, to improvements to the MTA’s website, redesigned maps, clearer audio announcements, and more. To provide more data for developers to use, the MTA is releasing new data sets to complement its existing schedule, geographic and other data sets, including: Historical data showing times and locations of train movements on the 4, 5 and 6 subway lines throughout May 2011. Location data of resources inside subway stations such as platforms, elevators, turnstiles and station agent booths. Shapes of bus routes. Locations of outside retailers who sell E-ZPasses. Performance data for all MTA Agencies from to present, including on-time performance, ridership, mean distance between failures, elevator and escalator availability, and injury rates. The MTA will make additional new data sets available through July 21 for developers to use. Submissions are due by Sept. 26, and the public will be invited to view and vote for all submissions for three weeks this fall. Winners will be announced in November. The competition is open to individuals and organizations in the U.S. and should run on the web, desktop computers and tablets. For a complete list of prizes and contest rules, visit http://MTAAppQuest.com.